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Will High on Life be Free Roam? An In-Depth Look

The short answer is no, High on Life will not be an open world free roam game. Based on everything we know so far, High on Life will have a more linear, narrative-focused structure with contained levels and missions. However, there will be some open hub areas that allow limited exploration between missions.

As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast, I‘ve dug deep into all the available details on High on Life‘s gameplay and structure. In this guide, I‘ll provide a comprehensive look at why High on Life isn‘t designed as a free roam experience, what free roam gameplay opportunities exist, and why the franchise has potential for a full open world sequel. Let‘s dive in!

Defining Free Roam vs Linear Game Design

For those unfamiliar with the terms, free roam refers to open world games where players can freely explore at their own pace without restrictive missions or linearity. Some examples include:

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • No Man‘s Sky

In contrast, linear game design guides players through structured levels and narrative in a set sequence. For example:

  • Uncharted series
  • The Last of Us
  • Doom 2016

Based on developer descriptions, High on Life aligns much more closely with linear mission-based games rather than open world sandboxes. Next I‘ll break down exactly why.

High on Life‘s Core Gameplay Loop

The central gameplay loop in High on Life revolves around taking on bounty hunts to defeat members of the Garm Cartel. Here‘s how the developers have described the overall flow:

  1. Pick a bounty target from the Bounty Board
  2. Travel to the target‘s location
  3. Fight through contained levels to reach the target
  4. Defeat the target and collect rewards
  5. Return to Hub to pick the next bounty

Rather than wandering freely, this structured bounty hunt system drives the game forward in a directed narrative. The developers have explicitly stated High on Life is "not an open world game" and compared its design to a "roller coaster ride."

This mission-based framework points heavily toward linearity rather than free form exploration.

Traversal Between Bounties

In most free roam games, players can traverse seamlessly across the open world. However, in High on Life travel is limited to jumping between bounty sites.

Squanch Games founder Justin Roiland described travel as loading into "little diorama bubbles" that transport you to each self-contained location. This suggests discrete levels rather than free exploration across one interconnected world.

Rocket jumps are another method of travel shown in demos. While this looks fun, it‘s likely scripted movement between set destinations rather than freely charting your own path.

Open Hubs Offer Light Exploration

Now, High on Life does allow some limited free roam elements between missions. After completing a bounty, you return to open hub areas connected to that location.

These hubs let you explore, complete side objectives, find collectibles etc. However, previews indicate these zones are relatively small sandboxes rather than sprawling continuous worlds.

So while not completely linear, High on Life gates open exploration to set hub areas between main missions. This again fits a primarily narrative driven structure.

Lack of Persistent Open World

Another strong indicator against free roam is High on Life‘s apparent lack of persistent post-game open world. Based on developer comments, once you finish the main story the credits will roll rather than letting you continue exploring.

You can reload a completed save to keep playing in New Game Plus style, but this is limited to those same hub zones likely disconnected from one another.

These descriptions suggest discreet levels and segmented hubs rather than one seamless, living open world that persists after the main narrative concludes.

The Verdict So Far

Given all the available details directly from Squanch Games, High on Life clearly skews toward a mission-based linear structure rather than free form open world gameplay.

However, the contained hub areas do give you some ability to explore and take on side content at your own pace. This blend provides structure while allowing breaths of freedom between bounties.

In summary:

  • High on Life is NOT a seamless open world game
  • It features primarily linear mission-based gameplay
  • But hub areas let you explore between missions

Next I‘ll examine what early reviewers are saying about the game‘s structure.

Early Reviews Confirm Limited Open World Aspects

Now that some reviewers have gotten hands-on time with High on Life, their impressions reinforce the details provided by Squanch Games.

For example, IGN described High on Life as:

Somewhere between an open-world shooter and a linear action game.

They noted that while you pick missions from a map, the levels themselves are self-contained:

Each level is pretty much a straight shot through some fun (if repetitive) combat encounters and light environmental puzzles.

Meanwhile, GameSpot also called out the ability to explore small hub zones between the campaign‘s focused linear missions:

The levels themselves are fairly linear, but small open areas provide chances to explore and experiment between those story beats.

So early reviews confirm what we expected – High on Life incorporates some limited open world traits but remains primarily a narrative-driven linear adventure.

Could a Sequel Go Fully Open World?

Personally, I think a direct High on Life sequel with full free roam capabilities could be an amazing evolution for the franchise. The zany alien settings and colorful tone are perfectly suited for an open world.

Imagine freely traversing the weird and humorous planets, discovering random events, taking on side quests from oddball characters, and bumping into familiar faces from the first game. The framework is already there for an awesome open world experience!

Of course, any sequel plans fully hinge on how well this first installment performs commercially and with critics. But the potential is definitely there for the right developer to capitalize on.

The Best of Both Worlds

Even as a linear focused experience, High on Life strikes an intriguing balance between narrative drive and gameplay freedom.

The bounty hunt structure propels players forward through a quirky sci-fi story, while still allowing chances to explore and soak in the ambiance between missions.

This should satisfy gamers who prioritize both engaging gameplay AND compelling narrative design. I‘m optimistic Squanch Games found a great mixture that sets up the series for future installments.

Well, that covers my deep dive on High on Life‘s structure and free roam potential! Let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy the game when it launches and be sure to watch for my streaming impressions.